I had a similar dish to this at a fish restaurant in Port-Vendres near the French border with Spain. In fact in the 1980s I used to have a version of this dish on the menu every day at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. I’ve improved it since by adding breadcrumbs and emmental cheese.
SERVES 4 AS A STARTER
100ml dry cider or dry white wine
48 large mussels, cleaned and debearded
large handful flat-leaf parsley
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra olive oil for drizzling
30g butter, softened
salt and black pepper
20g panko breadcrumbs
25g emmental, finely grated
1. Bring the cider or wine to the boil in a large pan. Add the mussels, put a lid on the pan and steam for 3-4 minutes until the mussels open. Drain them in a sieve over a bowl and reserve the juice. Tip the juice back into the pan and reduce it over a high heat to 2 tablespoons.
2. Separate the mussel shells, discarding the empty halves, and arrange the mussels in their half-shells on a baking tray.
3. Chop the parsley with the garlic fairly finely and put them in a bowl. Add the cider or wine reduction, olive oil and butter, then mix to make a paste. Season with salt and pepper.
4 Preheat the grill to its hottest setting. Spoon the paste over the mussels, then mix the breadcrumbs with the emmental and sprinkle on top. Drizzle with more oil. Place the mussels under the hot grill and cook until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
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